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Home Made PCB

09/21/2009 Category: Tutorial

PCB Before EtchingPCB after etching

There are many ways to create PCB at home. You can manually laying out the traces with trace transfers (not recommended), photo reproduction (specialized, and expensive), or the use of a laser printer using the toner transfer method. During my experience, creating PCB using the toner transfer method is easiest and low cost.

The procedure is simple. Firstly, prepare Jet Print brand Photo paper, glossy. The next step is to produce a positive image of the traces you want, using almost any editor, CAD program, Eagle, etc. The image must print to the exact scale needed. Load a sheet of the Jet Print into your printer tray, set your printer for darkest image, and print. Prepare your copper board by first sanding lightly in a cross-hatched pattern with 400 grit paper. Next, degrease and clean the copper with alcohol or similar.

Get iron from your house and set it on the highest temperature, and allow it to warm up. Tack the paper down on one corner of the board. It will immediately begin to fuse and stick. Continue to iron the paper onto the board and use a bit of pressure. It will take a time about 3 minutes. Use the edge of the iron as well to apply higher pressure in a pattern. When you able to see the traces through the paper then drop the fused paper and board into a bowl of hot water. It will immediately bubble and begin to separate from the copper. Let it soak for a good 10 to 30 minutes. You may need to help the paper separate a bit it won’t float free on its own. But if you used a good hot iron, you won’t have any trouble with trace mask peeling off the copper. It really fuses well.

The Printed Circuit Board is ready to etch into the ferric chloride etch. Shake the ferric chloride bowl to accelerate the process. After you see that the unmasked copper removed from the PCB stop the process and cleans the toner acetone or alcohol.

Home made PCB
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